Kings Cross, New South Wales

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Kings Cross
Sydney,  New South Wales
(1)Darlinghurst Road-1.jpg
Darlinghurst Road, Kings Cross
Coordinates 33°52′25″S151°13′25″E / 33.87373°S 151.22357°E / -33.87373; 151.22357 Coordinates: 33°52′25″S151°13′25″E / 33.87373°S 151.22357°E / -33.87373; 151.22357
Population4,948 (2019)
Location2 km (1 mi) east of Sydney CBD
LGA(s) City of Sydney
Localities around Kings Cross:
Potts Point Potts Point Elizabeth Bay
Woolloomooloo Kings Cross Rushcutters Bay
Darlinghurst Darlinghurst Darlinghurst

Kings Cross is an inner-city locality of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. It is located approximately 2 kilometres east of the Sydney central business district, in the local government area of the City of Sydney. It is bounded by the suburbs of Potts Point, Elizabeth Bay, Rushcutters Bay and Darlinghurst. [1]

Contents

Colloquially known as The Cross, the area was once known for its music halls and grand theatres. It was rapidly transformed after World War II by the influx of troops returning and visiting from the nearby Garden Island naval base. It became known as Sydney's night entertainment and red-light district; however, many nightclubs, bars and adult entertainment venues closed due to the Sydney lockout laws. [2] Today, it is a mixed locality offering services such as a railway station, gyms, supermarkets and bakeries as well as entertainment venues including bars, restaurants, nightclubs, brothels and strip clubs.

History

Trams and trolley buses pass through Kings Cross intersection in the 1950s Kings Cross Sydney 1950.jpg
Trams and trolley buses pass through Kings Cross intersection in the 1950s
William Street and Kings Cross from the air in the 1950s William Street Sydney from air.jpg
William Street and Kings Cross from the air in the 1950s

British settlement

The intersection of William Street, Darlinghurst Road and Victoria Street at the locality's southernmost limit was named Queen's Cross to celebrate Queen Victoria's diamond jubilee in 1897. Confusion with Queen's Square in King Street in the city prompted its renaming as Kings Cross, after King Edward VII, in 1905.

During the early 19th century the Darlinghurst area, which extended to include current day Kings Cross, was one of Sydney's most prestigious locations, being far enough to escape the noise and smell of the central city but close enough for easy travel. An additional attraction was the commanding harbour views to the east and north and (from some points) views to the west as far as the Blue Mountains.

In 1828, the Governor of New South Wales Sir Ralph Darling subdivided the area, then known as Woolloomooloo Hill, into large allotments which he granted seventeen estates to favoured subordinates and leading businessmen. They built a series of grandiose mansions with sprawling gardens of up to ten acres (4 ha). The remnants of these gardens helped give the area its leafy character, and many of the mansions are commemorated through street names such as Roslyn, Orwell and Kellett. Most of the grand estates were ultimately subdivided with all but a handful of the great houses demolished. One of the surviving homes, located nearby in the suburb of Elizabeth Bay, is Elizabeth Bay House, a quintessential example of Australian colonial architecture. Others, now used for other purposes, include Tusculum in Manning Street and Rockwall. [3] A prominent past resident of this era was David Scott Mitchell. [3]

Early Subdivision Plans

The estates that Governor Darling granted to the emerging merchant class and professional elite shaped the development of the area that came to be known as Kings Cross. The mansions built on these estates such as Tusculum remain today as leading examples of architectural design in colonial Australia. [4] [5]

Subdivision plans also known as estate maps were produced from the mid-19th to mid-20th century and advertised estates and subdivisions of land for sale. They illustrate the urban development of Sydney as large estates were divided up and transformed into the suburbs of Sydney. [6] [7]

The estates and mansions are commemorated through street names such as Roslyn, Orwell and Kellett, as documented in the gallery of subdivision maps. [8] [9]

Bohemian district

The Kings Cross district was Sydney's bohemian heartland from the early decades of the 20th century. The illegal trading of alcohol, known as sly grog , was notorious in the area up until mid-century, led by rival brothel owners, Tilly Devine and Kate Leigh. [3] The area was home to a large number of artists, including writers, poets and journalists such as Kenneth Slessor, Christopher Brennan, Hal Porter, George Sprod and Dame Mary Gilmore, entrepreneur Mayfield B. Anthony, actors including Peter Finch and Chips Rafferty, and painters Sir William Dobell and Rosaleen Norton. [3]

Kings Cross circa 1960. Kings Cross circa 1960's.jpg
Kings Cross circa 1960.

From the 1960s onwards Kings Cross also came to serve as both the city's main tourist accommodation and entertainment mecca, as well as its red-light district. It thereby achieved a high level of notoriety out of all proportion to its limited geographical extent. Hundreds of American servicemen on R & R (rest and recreation) leave flocked to the area each week in search of entertainment. Organised crime and police corruption were well entrenched in the area – one of Sydney's most notorious illegal casinos operated with impunity for many years, although it was known to all and located only yards from Darlinghurst police station. Much of this activity can be related with Abe Saffron, commonly known as Mr Sin or "the boss of the Cross".

A positive influence in the area during that time was the Wayside Chapel, run by Rev Ted Noffs. His church was open most of the time, providing a "drop in centre" and counselling services to many of the itinerants who were drawn to the area. The Ted Noffs Foundation Inc, established in 1971, [16] continues his work supporting young people and their families who are experiencing drug and alcohol problems and related trauma.

Juanita Nielsen, a journalist and publisher, campaigned against property development in the Kings Cross area during the 1970s until her sudden disappearance on 4 July 1975. A coronial inquest determined that Nielsen had been murdered, and although the case has never been officially solved, it is widely believed that Nielsen was killed by agents of the developers. [3] [17]

El Alamein Fountain El Alamein Fountain, Sydney.jpg
El Alamein Fountain

As a celebration to commemorate the Stonewall Riots, the inaugural Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras pro-gay rights protest march was held on the evening of 24 June 1978. After the protest march, participants were subject to police harassment in Hyde Park, following the revocation of the original protest permit. Some participants headed to Kings Cross where police arrested 53 people, although most of the charges were later dropped. [3] Australia's first widely known transgender person, Carlotta, rose to prominence in Kings Cross whilst working at Les Girls, The Tender Trap, and soap opera Number 96 (TV series). [3]

From the late 1960s, drug-related crime was one of the area's main social problems. In 2001, despite controversy, Australia's first Medically Supervised Injecting Centre was established (where users of illegal drugs can inject themselves at a safe injection site in clean conditions) at a shopfront site in Kings Cross. The injecting room is credited with reducing the occurrence of fatal overdoses in the injecting drug user community, as well as reducing the number of needles left in the street, with an interim evaluation report in 2007 claiming: [18]

The reduction in opioid-related overdoses was much more substantial in the immediate vicinity of the MSIC than in other neighbouring areas. ... Counts of discarded needles and syringes collected locally indicated a decrease of around 50% following the establishment of the service.

Kings Cross station on the left, present day Near King Cross station - panoramio.jpg
Kings Cross station on the left, present day

Today

Today, the ongoing operation of tourist accommodation, the proximity to social housing and health care, and the convenient public transport to the city result in a diverse population, both resident and passing through at Kings Cross. Since the introduction of controversial lockout laws in March 2014 several nightclubs and pubs in the area have closed down. [19] [20]

Heritage listings

Kings Cross has a number of heritage-listed sites, including:

Landmarks

Fire Station & Kirketon Road Centre, Darlinghurst Road (1)Darlinghurst Fire Station-a.jpg
Fire Station & Kirketon Road Centre, Darlinghurst Road

Culture

Events and celebrations

Popular culture

Population

As of 2019, it is estimated 4,948 people live within the locality’s 0.17 km2 (0.066 sq mi) area. [32] In 2018, the local area (including Potts Point and Woolloomooloo) was recognized as the second most densely populated in Australia. [33]

See also

Related Research Articles

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Elizabeth Bay House

Elizabeth Bay House is a heritage-listed Colonial Regency style house and now a museum and grotto, located at 7 Onslow Avenue in the inner eastern Sydney suburb of Elizabeth Bay in the City of Sydney local government area of New South Wales, Australia. The design of the house is attributed to John Verge and John Bibb and was built from 1835 to 1839 by James Hume. The grotto and retaining walls were designed by Verge and the carriage drive on Onslow Avenue was designed by Edward Deas Thomson and built from 1832 to 1835 by convict and free artisans under the direction of Verge. The property is owned by Sydney Living Museums, an agency of the Government of New South Wales. Known as "the finest house in the colony", Elizabeth Bay House was originally surrounded by a 22-hectare (54-acre) garden, and is now situated within a densely populated inner city suburb.

Victoria Street, East Sydney street in Sydney, Australia

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Oakleigh, Potts Point Former boarding house in Sydney, Australia

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55 Victoria Street, Potts Point

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Tusculum, Potts Point

Tusculum is a heritage-listed former residence and now offices at 1-3 Manning Street in the inner city Sydney suburb of Potts Point in the City of Sydney local government area of New South Wales, Australia. It was built from 1831 to 1837 to the design of John Verge for successful businessman Alexander Brodie Spark. It was then let to influential cleric William Broughton, the first and only Anglican Bishop of Australia and later inaugural Bishop of Sydney, from 1836 to 1851. It is owned today by the Historic Houses Trust of New South Wales. It was added to the New South Wales State Heritage Register on 2 April 1999.

Rockwall, Potts Point

Rockwall is a heritage-listed house and former school at 7 Rockwall Crescent in the inner city Sydney suburb of Potts Point in the City of Sydney local government area of New South Wales, Australia. It was designed by John Verge and built from 1831 to 1837. It was added to the New South Wales State Heritage Register on 2 April 1999.

Jenner House a heritage-listed residence in Sydney, Australia

Jenner House is a heritage-listed residence located at 2 Macleay Street in the inner city Sydney suburb of Potts Point in the City of Sydney local government area of New South Wales, Australia. It was designed by Edmund Blacket and built in 1871, with an 1877 third-floor addition designed by Thomas Rowe. It has also been known as Fleet Club, Stramshall, Jenner Private Hospital, Kurragheen and Lugano. It was added to the New South Wales State Heritage Register on 2 April 1999.

Gowrie Gate Art Deco building in Potts Point, Sydney, Australia

Gowrie Gate is an Art Deco building located at 115 Macleay Street, Potts Point, Sydney, Australia. Situated on the south-west corner of Macleay Street and Orwell Street it was designed by Architect, Dudley Ward and built by S.D.C. Kennedy & Bird Pty. Ltd with building works completed in 1938. The building was sold in its entirety for £80,000 in 1939. The spread of flats in the 1920s and 30s was one of the most marked developments in Sydney housing. Flat development was booming along with population and the area exhibited a concentration of Sydney buildings designed in the Art Deco style. Ward's influential designs for both this building and The Wroxton apartments, looked to European experiments, picking up on innovations in public housing in Germany and Holland. The building consists of 7 floors and a basement. It is constructed in an Art Deco style from red textured brick. When completed the building consisted of 53 self contained flats, four penthouses, two professional suites and six shops facing Macleay Street and Orwell Streets. The building originally featured a number of open balconies on the Orwell Street facade, but many of these have been infilled over the years to provide more living space. The entry foyer and ground floor retains some original features such as a large hanging lantern along with sections of original walnut paneling. Although not heritage listed the building is a contributory item within the Potts Point/Elizabeth Bay Heritage Conservation Area.

References

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  2. Press, Australian Associated (28 November 2019). "Sydney lockout laws to be scrapped almost entirely from 14 January". the Guardian. Retrieved 30 July 2020.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Fitzgerald, Shirley (2007). "The Strip on the strip" (PDF). City of Sydney . Retrieved 14 October 2010.
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  5. "Tusculum Mansion". State Library of New South Wales Catalogue. Retrieved 17 February 2019.
  6. "Subdivision plans". State Library of New South Wales. Retrieved 17 February 2019.
  7. State Library of New South Wales; Whitnall, Avryl (2002), Villas of Darlinghurst, State Library of New South Wales, ISBN   978-0-7313-7117-4
  8. "Kings Cross Subdivision Plans". State Library of New South Wales. Retrieved 17 February 2019.
  9. "Kings Cross Subdivision Plans". Trove - National Library of Australia. Retrieved 17 February 2019.
  10. Mention of a sale in July 1883; "Property Sales". The Evening News (4958). New South Wales, Australia. 9 July 1883. p. 4. Retrieved 17 February 2019 via National Library of Australia.
  11. see also: Reuss & Nott (Firm); Hardie & Gorman Pty. Ltd; Gibbs, Shallard & Co (1882), Barncleuth Estate Darlinghurst : for auction sale, Gibbs, Shallard & Co, retrieved 17 February 2019 and Hardie & Gorman Pty. Ltd; John Sands (Firm); Reuss & Nott (Firm) (1884), Barncleuth Estate Darlinghurst, for auction sale on the ground on Saturday Octr. 25th 1884 at 3 o'clock, John Sands, lith, retrieved 17 February 2019
  12. "FOR £28,000". The Sun (5324). New South Wales, Australia. 30 November 1927. p. 15 (FINAL EXTRA). Retrieved 17 February 2019 via National Library of Australia.
  13. "£2510- A FOOT". The Sun (951). New South Wales, Australia. 19 June 1921. p. 2. Retrieved 17 February 2019 via National Library of Australia.
  14. "SOCIAL SIDELIGHTS". The Sun (1530). New South Wales, Australia. 24 July 1932. p. 28. Retrieved 17 February 2019 via National Library of Australia.
  15. Not all changes were controversy free - "ALBERTO TERRACE CHARGES". The Daily Telegraph (13, 766). New South Wales, Australia. 22 January 1924. p. 7. Retrieved 17 February 2019 via National Library of Australia.
  16. "About". website. Ted Noffs Foundation. Retrieved 24 February 2009.
  17. McGuiness, Padraic P (3 March 2004). "Juanita Nielsen, casualty of ideological war". The Sydney Morning Herald . Fairfax Media . Retrieved 14 October 2010.
  18. National Centre in HIV Epidemiology and Clinical Research (2007). "Sydney Medically Supervised Injecting Centre Evaluation Report No. 4: Evaluation of service operation and overdose-related events" (PDF). University of New South Wales . Retrieved 23 December 2007.Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  19. Dumas, Daisy (14 March 2016). "Going, going, gone: 10 iconic bar closures and moves in Sydney". The Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Media. Archived from the original on 16 March 2016.
  20. Spicer, David (30 July 2015). "Hugo's Lounge in Sydney's Kings Cross forced to close after revenue drop, owner blames lockout laws". ABC News. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Archived from the original on 10 October 2016.
  21. "El Alamein Memorial Fountain". New South Wales State Heritage Register . Office of Environment and Heritage. H01847. Retrieved 18 May 2018.
  22. "Protecting heritage and character in Kings Cross". Medianet. Retrieved 16 August 2020.
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  33. "These are Australia's most densely populated suburbs". The New Daily. 4 October 2018. Retrieved 16 August 2020.